Viva La Playa is Open

Cuisine for the Senses

by Maribel Alvarez

Viva La Playa

Authentic, Bold & Artisanal
Latin American Cuisine

I’ve been a long time fan of Chef Jeremy Hanlon and have been enjoying his superb fresh mahi tacos and the best paella this side of the Atlantic since he, Lee and Max Lipton upgraded the 30 year surfside dining landmark, Benny’s on the Beach,  to a gourmet destination in 2013.  So when I heard the team opened their much anticipated Latin American restaurant, I knew it was going to a home run.  The fact that they offer outdoor dining, both oceanfront as well as on their west patio overlooking sunsets on the intracoastal,  made it easy to lure cautious Palm Beachers adhering to social distancing recommendations.

Forbes Magazine beat me to it!

The guests I took to experience this new dining destination were savvy and demanding.  From Mexicans ready to critique, to two French chefs, (and we all know how finicky the French can be), the resounding verdict included the following quotes:  “Excellent’, “Fabuleux” and “why has it taken so long for a fine Latin restaurant to come to Palm Beach.   Except, I’m not the first one to boast.  Forbes Magazine featured the exquisite cuisine in an article September 14th “An International Journey of taste with Artisanal Cuisine at Viva La Playa’ before I had a chance to spread the word.

During my first visit, Angie, the general manager, took the time to explain to our guests Chef Jeremy’s background, his cooking and education experiences during his extensive travels abroad and how they use only local fresh market ingredients not only in their dishes but in their signature cocktails.

Scroll through slides to virtually sip!

LA VIVA Cocktails deserve to be highlighted!

I usually opt for wine, however,  in this case, all of us were lured by their seductive cocktail menu featuring carefully crafted libations, most of which include cold pressed juices– not your typical syrup drowned cocktails.  The cocktails are a sensual experience on their own! My personal favorite (as I’m always counting calories) was  Bamba Bramble comprised of Grey Goose Vodka, butterfly pea, quince and lemon.  My Mexican counterparts loved the Herradura and Cazadores tequila-based ‘Palomas’ cocktails.  I won’t begin to tell you how much how we enjoyed them during and after.  One of the chefs opted for the mocktails and seemed just as happy!  The best part is we all woke up planning our next visit, which was the next night!  

Let’s talk about our dining experience!

The grilled guacamole is a must!  After a couple of visits I discovered a side of guacamole and fresh home-made tortillas accompany ANY subsequent dish ordered.  Their menu features small plates and shared dishes which makes it fun for larger groups.  On my third visit, our group of six ordered the Picada, which allowed us to make our own tacos, choosing from the shaved prime rib, rotisserie chicken, mojo pork and a variety of sauces.  My vegetarian son was in heaven with a huge array of dishes to select from. Having savored Chef Jeremy’s paella at Benny’s, the Mariscos was a shoe in: Fabulous medley of fresh seafood in a light saffron broth is a must!  The Snapper Verde, Seared Tuna and the Rotisserie Chicken are repeats for me!

Below is a sneak peek of what we tasted during our 3 visits!

I highly recommend my foodie friends to take a 5 minute drive to Lake Worth Beach!  A sensual journey worth every bite!

For reservations after 5 pm, call 561.247.7245
Viva La Playa
10 South Ocean Boulevard
Lake Worth Beach, Florida 33460